Re: Tit 1:1-2

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jan 26 2000 - 07:09:57 EST

At 10:54 PM -0500 1/25/00, Mike Sangrey wrote:
> said:
>> Let me try again with the image that always looms in my mind for KATA
>> + acc.: it is movement alongside the course of a river flowing
>> downstream
>When I see KATA + acc. I think of a railroad track--the one rail running true
>to the other. The subject of the preposition being the one rail the
>object being the other.

I like that very much. I do think such images are helpful--although a
skewed image can also distort an understanding of a construction.

>> I think the first KATA is a bit easier, and I would
>> suggest that the difficulties here arise, to some extent, from the
>> conglomeration of abstract nouns in such tight proximity that, instead of
>> being on the ground where the concrete relationships of concrete
>> perceptibles is not confusing, we are way up in the blue and dealing with
>> relationships of abstractions to each other, the relationships themselves
>> being anything but concrete, being surely metaphorical. What does it mean
>> to say that "truth" is "in accordance with" "reverence"? The only thing I'd
>> say here for sure is that the sort of truth being talked about could NEVER
>> be INCONSISTENT with reverence.
>I agree with Carl, but I don't think the difficulties arise from the
>text, but from our own perceptions that these nouns are abstract. If
>we think in more practical terms, the text automatically becomes more
>concrete. Perhaps I'm forcing things, but let me state my case, for
>what it may be worth.

I don't disagree with this; it's partly a matter of terminology; when one
uses a single noun to represent a plurality of acts it gets rather
abstract; I think that the extent to which this is so depends on the noun
in question; "youth" may mean "young men" or "righteousness" may mean
"righteous acts" but in the eyes of the beholder "righteousness" may seem
like a bigger thing or something more than a plurality of actions, an
attitude the holding of which leads to performance of the actions. I don't
really think you're forcing things here; I just think it's wise to be clear
about the referents of our words, without getting into an argument about
nominalism and realism in the epistemological sense.

>I think of EUSEBEIA as 'practical godward devotion'. I think, and perhaps
>this is just me, 'reverence' has too much a religious tone. True, it had
>a religious tone in the first century, too; but religion was different
>back then. Then, it was part of life (please correct me if I'm wrong);
>today we have separated the secular and the religious. Western society
>thinks in terms of "reverence is something those religious people do."

Well, there again, yes and no, although I certainly see what you mean. What
"Western society" has done may be as much a matter of performing some
'secular' actions in a religious way and vice-versa, such as the
celebration of a festival or the Boy Scout's 'doing a good turn
daily'--which one doesn't really think of as a religious action--one may do
it because one has been instructed to do it or because one has recognized a
'higher principle' in doing it.

>Moulton & Milligan cite a letter "The word = 'loyalty' occurs in the
>copy of a letter of date A.D. 46 in which the Emperor Claudius thanks
>an athletic club for a golden crown sent to him on the occasion of his
>victorious campaign in Britain--EPI THi KATA BRETANNWN NEIKNi XRUSOUN
>EUSEBEIAS." I would note the practical expression and the gloss of

This is interesting indeed. Do we have the Latin for that letter? My guess
is that EUSEBEIA here could convey either Latin FIDES or Latin PIETAS.
FIDES tends to refer to 'loyalty' in the sense of observing one's ordinary
obligations to friends and family and state, but PIETAS covers a lot of the
same territory; it does not, until much later, come to have the meaning of
English "piety" but even in early Latin it surely is heavy-laden with a
sense of profound religious obligation. And yet--on the other hand, the
inscription above, with that phrase THS hUMETERAS PROS ME EUSEBEIAS
suggests something more to me than "loyalty"--I think it has overtones of
worship--or at least of the attitude that Romans in the imperial period
expected subjects to hold toward the current 'Caesar'. This is precisely
what the correspondence of Pliny and Trajan is all about: the emperor might
well get EUSEBEIA from his subjects, but would EUSEBEIA be what an ordinary
person owes another ordinary person? I think what the letter shows is that
the emperor expects and gets something more like 'devotion.'

>Also, in 2 Peter 1:5f we have a list of abstract words, but they have
>no real meaning unless they are lived practically. There, EUSEBIA fits
>in a nice triplet with FILADELFIA and AGAPH. I take these in a rather
>practical sense. That is, add to your expressions of devotion to God,
>love for your friends, and add to that love for whomever. Why would
>one have to UPOMONH if it wasn't rather down to earth?

or unless it gets put to the test!

>So then, the thought in Titus 1 is this: Paul's whole purpose in being
>an Apostle was to evince faith and an intimate knowledge of truth which
>runs true with the practical expressions of devotion to God." There was
>to be faith, but also a consistency between truth and practice.

This is surely right, I think--but my impression is that what comes hardest
of all in taking Paul's message to heart is precisely this matter of
putting principles into practice. I think you're right to underscore that
application of EUSEBEIA is in the writer's mind; but what this whole
exercise has demonstrated is that it's very easy for a word like EUSEBEIA
to be a warm feeling inside that never or rarely finds expression in action.

Apparently there's a good deal more in this little formulaic salutation
than meets the eye at first reading. I guess that's why we read it a second
time, and a third, and ...

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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